Author Notes: You'll be surprised at just how incredibly sweet a sugarless grape jam can be. Scrucchiata is used like any other jam, lathered on toasted bread for breakfast or dolloped on top of a plate of ferratelle or pizzelle -- Abruzzo's answer to waffles.
These are traditionally made with autumn's bountiful harvest of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo grapes, but Concords are a great substitute. If you can't find Concords, use any delicious black grape.
This sugarless version, while very traditional, doesn't last as long as those made with sugar, which is a preservative. If you're looking for a way to conserve this jam for longer, feel free to add sugar to the recipe -- about 1 cup (200 grams) of sugar per 2 pounds (1 kilogram) of grapes. Add the sugar to the jam after the first two hours of cooking, or when the mixture is already reduced and dense. —Emiko
Makes: 1 pint of jam
pounds (2 kilograms) black grapes, such as concords
- Rinse the grapes well and pull the stems off. If your grapes have seeds, squash them one by one between your thumb and forefinger, and they should pop out. Place the seeds in a bowl until you've gone through all of the grapes. If you have a food mill (known as a passaverdura in Italian), push the seeds through one to get every last drop of juice and flesh out and discard the seeds (you can also slightly mash the flesh/seeds with a mortar and pestle and then strain the seeds out). Place the skins, juice and the rest of the flesh in a heavy-bottomed pot. If using seedless grapes, simply place the rinsed grapes directly in the pot.
- Place the pot of grapes over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. They will make their own liquid, so there is no need to add any water. Give the grapes a little stir here and there to help them along.
- Simmer the grapes for about 2 hours, or until the volume reduces by half to two-thirds. Pass the grape mixture through a food mill or simply squash the grapes with a potato masher until you have a thick, creamy, rustic jam. It may still be too runny at this stage, so put it back on low heat for up to another hour, or until the mixture reaches a thick jam-like consistency. Remove from heat and seal the jam in sterile jars. Store in a cool, dark place, such as the fridge.
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